2014 Acura MDX Elite
2014 Acura MDX Elite
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Odometer at pick-up: 13,498 km
Odometer current: 13,679 km (181 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 12.6 L/100 km
Costs: $0 (Gas)

Earlier this week, we picked up our winter long-term tester, a 2014 Acura MDX Elite, a vehicle we have long held in high esteem, and seemingly only improved upon in its most recent redesign.

The MDX is Acura’s mid-size (almost large) seven-seat crossover SUV. While it seats seven, it has always driven more like a smaller, lower car, and we aim to find out if it maintains its edge and can balance that sporty dynamic with real-world, all-season practicality.

We’ve covered the option packages of the MDX in our First Drive, but I will reiterate that at $49,990, the MDX is a steal with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), seven-passenger seating, 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, power tailgate, multi-angle rear-view camera, full leather interior and heated front seats and steering wheel. It’s not the features, per se, that make the MDX such great value, but also the incredible solidity and balance.

The only powertrain choice across the line is a 290-hp, 3.5L V6 with 267 lb-ft and a six-speed automatic transmission. With variable timing (iVTEC) and cylinder deactivation, the engine delivers power across a broad range, but peak horsepower is officially at 6,200 rpm and torque at 4,500 rpm. The transmission features a Sport mode, offers paddle shifters for manual gear selection, and the entire powertrain (and suspension) is adjustable (Comfort, Normal and Sport modes) via the Integrated Dynamic System (IDS – or as I like to call it, Irritable Driver Syndrome) button just aft of the console shifter.

While horsepower is down fractionally, fuel consumption is down significantly, about 20 percent according to Transport Canada, and the EPA offers estimates of 13.1 L/100 km in the city, 8.7 for highway, and 11.2 on the combined cycle (18/27/21 mpg). That is also a big improvement over the 2013 model’s 14.7/11.2/13.1 L/100 km (16/21/18 mpg).

Going up the trim ladder, Navi adds navigation and the full AcuraLink connectivity suite, upgraded stereo, driver aids (blind spot, collision and lane departure warnings), 19-inch wheels and some other perks. Tech trim adds a rear-seat nine-inch DVD player, upgraded leather, an even better stereo and rear door sunshades.

2014 Acura MDX Elite2014 Acura MDX Elite2014 Acura MDX Elite
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

Finally the full loaded Elite, priced at $65,990 (plus $1,995 Freight & PDI surcharge applicable to all trims) includes the ‘Ultrawide’ 16.2-inch rear DVD system, Surround View camera system with sensors for audible warnings, adaptive cruise control (which works at low speeds as well), roof rails, ventilated front seats, remote engine starter and a super-duper top-of-the-line stereo with an extra speaker. On the electronic safety front, the Elite trim makes use of Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), which applies minute steering corrections to bring you back into your lane, and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which will apply braking in an attempt to avoid impending collisions.

The most vivid first impression was made by the Elite’s new genuine olive ash trim, a huge improvement over the polished and slightly artificial woodgrain trim in the 2013 MDX, which Simon liked, but I was not a fan of when I drove the MDX a couple years back. My boss, the owner of a 2008 MDX, recently drove a 2014 MDX, and had this to say: “Compared to mine, I like the update to the electronics and the heated steering wheel [now standard, formerly unavailable] is nice.”

The new design seems more sophisticated and mature with its flowing, softer lines, although I was partial to its striking, sharp creases on the outside, if not its multitude of buttons inside. The new dual-screen setup seems immediately intuitive, and attractive, but we’ll see if everyone finds it as easy to operate as I have over the course of the next couple of months.

2014 Acura MDX Elite2014 Acura MDX Elite2014 Acura MDX Elite
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

On the surface, Acura seems to have added a nice mix of feature content, improved efficiency, and a better user interface – a particular pain point of ours with Honda products of late – without giving up any of its dynamic and practical benefits. We’ll be exploring all of the MDX’s perks and searching for its flaws on the daily commute, weekend family adventures and even a short road trip up for a ski getaway.

Related Articles:
Test Drive: 2014 Acura MDX Elite
First Drive: 2014 Acura MDX
Buyer’s Guide: 2014 Acura MDX
Long-Term Test Wrap-Up: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
First Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 Bluetec Diesel

Manufacturer’s Website:
Acura Canada

Photo Gallery:
2014 Acura MDX Elite

Pricing: 2014 Acura MDX Elite
Base Price: $49,990
Base Price (Premium AWD): $65,990
Options: None
A/C Tax: $100
Destination: $1,995
Price as tested: $68,085

Audi Q7
Cadillac SRX/Escalade
Infiniti FX60/FX70
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Lexus RX/GX
Lincoln MKT
Mercedes-Benz ML-Class/GL-Class

Crash Test Results:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Connect with Autos.ca